Notes: Mariners, Weaver not worried

Notes: Mariners, Weaver not worried

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Before Tuesday's game with the Diamondbacks, Mariners manager Mike Hargrove allowed himself one prediction for his 25-man roster come Opening Day: Jeff Weaver's on the club.

That much has never been in question, and an ineffective outing three weeks into Spring Training was not about to send Hargrove searching for an eraser.

Weaver had to laugh off his fourth Cactus League appearance, unable to take much of value from a four-inning affair in which he gave up six runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter.

"I'd throw one good pitch, one bad pitch -- it was just kind of back and forth for me," Weaver said. "Today was a 50-50 coin flip where the ball was going."

Hargrove may have tilted the odds a bit more in favor of the hitters.

"Weaver just didn't have command of his breaking ball today and had to throw way too many fastballs and sinkers -- two-seamers," Hargrove said.

The outing culminated with a pair of fourth-inning homers on back-to-back at-bats from Chris Young and Stephen Drew, 23 and 24 and slated to start for the D-backs in center field and at shortstop, respectively. Weaver had been falling behind batters with increasing frequency, a method of operation that rarely is effective.

"The pitch [Young] hit the three-run home run on was where I wanted it, but it was one of those young guys that turn and burn. That was the first fastball I threw him in two at-bats, and he was all over it. The location was good, just bad result."

For both Weaver and Hargrove, the outing was not one to raise concern, but simply indicative of the kinds of things that come out in the wash as a veteran pitcher prepares for the season.

"I'd like to iron it out," Weaver said, commenting on his overall readiness for the start of the season. "I've got two more [starts] to go. I got up to 81 pitches today and felt strong throughout, so that's the important part. Now it's just getting everything together and working."

If nothing else, the impending ending of Spring Training means Weaver can abandon both the long bus rides and the early morning routine that comes from the Cactus League's traditional 1:05 p.m. game times. Making a start in Tucson, two hours from the Mariners' training facility in Peoria, Ariz., meant making a 7 a.m. bus ride as part of his pregame ritual.

"The 5:45 wakeup call is pretty tough, but that's the way it goes in spring sometimes," said Weaver. "It's kind of a cakewalk here in Arizona. Every start in Florida it seemed like you had an hour-and-a-half, two-hour drive beforehand. You don't always feel 100 percent when you're out there during the season either, so there could be an actual benefit to seeing how you can handle not feeling fully rested and at your best or 100 percent."

After the five-run fifth, Hargrove, if not Weaver, apparently had seen enough, sending his starter to the showers.

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Out of innings: Three Mariners prospects found their spring with the parent club at an end Tuesday morning. Right-hander Cha Seung Baek and lefty Ryan Feierabend were optioned to Triple-A Tacoma, and right-hander Renee Cortez was reassigned to Minor League camp.

All three pitched in Monday's game, with Baek throwing a scoreless inning on the heels of his six-run, three-inning outing four days earlier, while Cortez was tagged for three runs in one inning and Feierabend for eight runs in two innings, including three home runs. Feierabend had not given up an earned run in his three Cactus League appearances until Monday's game.

"Baek and Feierabend both had good springs, except for their last outings," Hargrove said. "They both got roughed up a little bit then.

"Cortez was better this spring than he was last spring. He showed more velocity. I think he was healthy this spring."

Hargrove was quick to point out that he was happy with what he'd seen from them.

"We just ran out of innings," the manager said. "But we liked all three of them. Cuts this time of the spring are not because you don't like somebody. If they've stayed around this long, there's something they're doing that's a plus."

Good catch: J.J. Putz and Arthur Rhodes played catch together in Peoria as each works back from minor elbow injuries. They threw to each other from a distance of about 100 feet, and both felt fine, according to head trainer Rick Griffin. They will throw together again on Wednesday, with Rhodes possibly coming to Tucson to pitch Thursday.

"This is a real minor thing," Hargrove said of Rhodes stiffness. "Nothing at all even approaching what J.J. had in front of him at one point in time. We're 99.9 percent certain it was just a Spring Training thing -- and he's 37 years old."

O'Flaherty e'fective: Eric O'Flaherty pitched a one-two-three seventh inning, striking out two and lowering his ERA to 2.57 in his fifth Cactus League appearance. He set hitters up with a good cutter, and he finished Chris Snyder off looking at a slider "that absolutely disappeared on the guy," as Hargrove put it.

"Best way to describe it, he's been quietly effective," said Hargrove. "He just goes about his business and lets his actions speak for themselves. He's put himself into contention for a spot -- that's what he's done. We were interested in him coming in, but he's done nothing to make us think that he can't pitch in the big leagues and pitch effectively."

On deck: The Mariners will skip across Tucson to face the Rockies in a 1:05 p.m. PT game at Hi Corbett Field on Wednesday. Miguel Batista toes the rubber for Seattle, and he'll face off against Colorado's Josh Fogg.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.